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Brady Banse, 18, loves sports. He’s tried a lot of them, from basketball and hockey to backyard football. This spring, he pitched again for the varsity baseball team at Forest Lake Area High School.
He’s struggled with asthma, worsened by a condition affecting his chest that he has had since birth. The condition, called pectus excavatum, created a depression in Brady’s ribcage, which made breathing deeply diffi cult. Brady noticed that he tired faster than his teammates when they worked out.
In July 2006, Brady underwent surgery on his chest at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Performing the procedure were Steven Muehlstedt, MD, of Pediatric Surgical Associates, and his colleague, pediatric surgeon David Schmeling, MD. Aided by a tiny camera inside the chest cavity, the surgeons positioned a titanium bar behind the breastbone inside Brady’s chest.
They slowly pushed the chest out, making the depression in the center of the chest disappear. The surgeons performed the minimally invasive procedure (called the Nuss Procedure) in about an hour, with only a small incision on each side of Brady’s chest. Brady says he noticed the difference immediately. “It felt so good to be able to take a nice, deep breath,” he says. He stayed at Children’s about a week, then took it easy for several months at home while the cartilage in his chest reformed.
Brady Banse, in 2007, returned to the Forest Lake High School baseball team after surgery in summer 2006 at Children’s. He continues to pitch in college.
He returned to sports last winter. “Now, I can play basketball for two or three hours straight, and I feel great.” He’ll return to Children’s in several years to have the bar removed. Before this surgery was developed, patients like Brady underwent longer, more invasive surgeries and had large scars across the chest. Their recoveries took longer, too.
Many boys with pectus excavatum don’t go without a shirt in public, Muehlstedt says. (Brady says that wasn’t an issue with him.) “I’ve often had boys tell me that they haven’t taken off their shirt in two years,” Muehlstedt says.
He notes that many patients—boys and girls—don’t tolerate exercise as well as their peers. Exercise testing before surgery may establish a medical need for the surgery, Muehlstedt explains. At Children’s, physicians and staff who work with surgery patients focus on each one’s unique needs—from premature infants to teenagers. For example, most anesthesiologists at
Children’s have further specialized in pediatrics. They have special expertise in caring for children with serious medical conditions during surgery. Those who support the surgery team also work only with pediatric patients. Pediatric radiologists, for example, interpret images of patients.
Laboratory staff, including pediatric pathologists, provide blood products and analyze tissue samples. Two Children’s operating rooms have been outfitted recently as integrated operating rooms. These state-of-the-art rooms feature equipment and environmental systems controlled by computer, making set-ups more efficient. Digital images (such as X-rays or CT scans) or images taken during surgery are displayed on large flatscreen monitors for easy viewing by surgeons and operating room staff.
Surgeries like Brady’s demonstrate the life-changing work that goes on inside the operating rooms at
Children’s of Minnesota. Whether it’s shorter surgeries like ear tubes or highly complex open-heart surgeries, Children’s has the expertise for the entire range of procedures. Children’s performs the largest number of pediatric surgeries in the Upper Midwest, with nearly 20,000 procedures in 2006.